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Chevron on Net Zero aspiration on upstrean and emissions by 2050


Bloomberg

Chevron Adopts Operational Net Zero ‘Aspiration’ by 2050

By Kevin Crowley / Bloomberg

HOUSTON
Petroleumworld 10 11 2021

Chevron Corp. committed to an “aspiration” of net zero emissions from its operations by 2050 as the company responds to rising investor and societal pressure to play a bigger role in a transition to a low-carbon future.

Chevron also set a target of reducing carbon intensity by 5% from 2016 levels by 2028 for the full lifecycle of its products, the San Ramon, California-based company said Monday in a report. The target includes Scope 3 emissions, or those of its customers, which make up the majority of fossil fuel pollution.

While the pledge falls short of those made by European peers such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, it’s the first time Chevron has outlined a multi-decade strategic commitment to reduce emissions. U.S. majors have been more reticent in adopting bold, long-term targets due to uncertainty over how to actually achieve them and an unwillingness to make large moves outside their core competency of producing oil and gas.

Whether or not it’s enough to appease shareholders remains to be seen. In May investors defied Chevron’s board and voted to reduce Scope 3 emissions on an absolute basis, not just intensity, which is a measure tied to the amount of energy produced.

Follow This, the Dutch campaigner that filed the investor proposal, said Chevron’s new goal is “disappointing tokenism.” Rather than a 5% reduction in Scope 3 intensity, absolute emissions need to come down by 40% by 2030 to have any chance of achieving the 2016 Paris Agreement, the group said in a statement.

Chevron isn’t the first U.S. oil company to adopt looser language around the definition “net zero” than when the term was first introduced a few years ago. ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp. have also set 2050 net zero as an ambition or an aspiration rather than a hard target.

But semantics aside, even those oil companies with seemingly stringent targets are light on detail with how to eliminate carbon emissions from their fossil fuels, especially in the outer decades of their plans. Exxon Mobil Corp. executives expressed skepticism over net zero targets earlier this year in a meeting with Citigroup Inc. banker Stephen Trauber because they had no concrete plans of how get there.

“I assured them most companies today who have committed to net zero don’t have a plan on how to get there, but they’re working to get there,” Trauber said last month.

Exxon is routinely evaluating its climate pledges “to reflect the changing landscape,” it said in a statement at the time. The company was forced to replace three of its directors earlier this year after an activist campaign that claimed the oil giant was ill-equipped for the energy transition.

Chevron’s announcement is “positive,” but “these are small steps when what investors asked for is a giant leap,” said Andrew Logan of Ceres, a nonprofit coalition of companies and investors who manage more than $47 trillion.

“What investors called for in casting their support for a shareholder proposal on Scope 3 targets this spring was a bold move to address product risk, one that was commensurate with the scale and scope of the climate challenge,” Logan said.

Chevron Chief Executive Officer Mike Wirth last month emphasized what he sees as the importance of having an credible carbon strategy that balances the world’s need for reliable energy with the lowering of emissions. The current global shortage of natural gas, along with the run-up in oil and coal prices over the past few weeks, emphasizes how the world is still highly dependent upon fossil fuels.

The company is committed to oil and gas for the long-term but is also making dozens of small-scale bets on new technologies like renewable natural gas that it believes can scale up in the future. The approach contrasts with that of its European peers, which are planning to pivot toward more renewable energies over time.

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